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Roundtable: Will Cap-and-Trade Hurt America?

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Today, the U.S. House of Representatives is voting on a potentially historical piece of legislation. Co-sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the American Clean Energy and Security Act, more commonly referred to as the "Cap-and-Trade" bill, intends to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Creating a sweeping new energy policy is one of the new administration's priorities, and the passage of this legislation would be the first step toward that goal.

However, one famous supporter of President Obama is uncomfortable with the current language of this bill. In a CNBC interview on Wednesday, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) CEO Warren Buffett agreed that it's important to "move on carbon emissions" but had this to say about cap-and-trade:

I think if you get into the way it was written, it's a huge tax and there's no sense calling it anything else. I mean, it is a tax. And it's a fairly regressive tax. If we buy permits, essentially, at our utilities, that goes right into the bills of the utility customers, and an awful lot of people in Iowa, in Oregon, and Utah, and places where we are, very poor people are going to pay a lot more money for electricity. So I think that can be improved.

What do our Foolish energy experts think about the legislation?

Christopher Barker, Fool writer
We all knew cap-and-trade was on the table, but the way this 1,200-page, life-altering bill is speeding through the legislative process leaves this cautious Fool with a profound sense of discomfort.

I certainly feel that viable clean energy remains the defining challenge of our time, but in my utopian fantasies of a cleaner future, I've envisioned a far greater role for solar and wind power. I didn't hop aboard the Pickens Plan either, but I found the wind component intriguing. According to the EPA, emission reductions under cap-and-trade would rely heavily upon nuclear power and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

Personally, I oppose nuclear energy, because I consider radioactive waste and Chernobyl-type risks utterly unacceptable. At least smog reminds us that our energy is dangerous. Capturing coal emissions and injecting them into the ground is a novel idea, and I've tracked the efforts by companies like Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU  ) and American Electric Power to lead the way forward, but it strikes me as akin to Yucca Mountain -- shove the stuff in there and hope for no earthquakes.

The rest of my concerns are economic. I've seen cost estimates ranging from as little as $175 per household per year, to a whopping $1,600 -- both from the same source! In the midst of a financial catastrophe, Americans deserve to know which figure is closer to reality.

David Lee Smith, Fool writer
As I've told Fools in the past, I'm a decided fan of green, believing that we must keep our planet as pure as possible. But I'm not certain that Waxman-Markey is the proper answer for that effort.

The bill promises that the U.S. will almost double the share of energy obtained from zero- or low-carbon sources during the next couple of decades. Further, it estimates that about 65% of new generation built by 2025 will be renewable and 92% would be low-carbon. I'm skeptical of this approach.

Here's why: Missing is a discussion of interim fuels and power. To my way of thinking, we must move, with help from the likes of General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) and Chesapeake (NYSE: CHK  ) , from our current dependence on oil and coal, to a much higher usage of natural gas and nuclear, which produce far less carbon than coal or oil and are domestically viable. Then, if our 2025 goal is delayed -- as I suspect it will be -- we will nevertheless have benefited our environment and our national security in the meantime.

Toby Shute, Fool writer
In the broadest terms, I'm a bit unhappy that the House has gone with a cap-and-trade system that hands out most of the emissions permits for free at the outset. This is a matter of political expediency, rather than optimal policy. How else do you get Dominion (NYSE: D  ) and the rest of the utility sector on board?

Drilling down a bit further, though, there are some things to like in this bill.

We would finally get a federal renewable-energy requirement, scaling up to 20% of electricity generation by 2020. Granted, the definition of "renewable" has been broadened to include power generated by burning trash, courtesy of companies such as Covanta. That's not necessarily the most climate-friendly of solutions.

Efficiency gains can also be used to reduce the renewable requirement, but I'm pretty fine with that. As I argued in my look at last year's IPO by Energy Recovery (Nasdaq: ERII  ) , energy efficiency is the low-hanging fruit and should be eagerly exploited. A greener building code features in the bill, as does a strengthened standard for lighting and appliances.

I'd also note that the bill gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authority to get involved in regional transmission planning. This could prevent serious hangups in the siting of new high-voltage lines, which are critical to tie remote installations by the likes of SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWRA  ) into the grid, or run wind generated in the Midwest to coastal states. Whether the measure has enough teeth to make the FERC truly effective in expediting these procedures is unclear, though.

So what does the Foolish community think about cap-and-trade, or the Waxman-Markey bill specifically? Leave your thought in the comment section below and let us know.

For more roundtable Foolishness:

This roundtable was compiled by David Williamson. He owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and General Electric. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Berkshire Hathaway and Chesapeake Energy are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy loves a good debate.

Read/Post Comments (47) | Recommend This Article (37)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 4:45 PM, BIGGAINZ wrote:


  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 5:00 PM, ChannelDunlap wrote:

    I can already tell you which way the Foolish community leans on this one; strongly, strongly against. While I think any progress is better than no progress, the only thing that concerns me is how quickly it's being pushed through. It wouldn't hurt to take some time and review it, get some second opinions, or even first opinions, before voting. It's a problem that's been years in the making, I think we can let it go another week before we take our first minuscule step forward on the issue. Is there even a copy of this bill out there for people like us to read?

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 5:09 PM, bw1962 wrote:

    You can not tell me we can not cleanly burn our coal! You can not tell me we can not cleanly burn our natural gas. GMTI or Greenman tech just came out with a P.R. about an invention that can transfer( seemlesly) Diesel engines over to natural gas or bio methane and back and forth as the needs for either increase or decrease. An invention that could change the face of combustion engines and decrease our demand for foriegne oil.

    But who cares? Will you look at GMTI ? I doubt it. This stock is setting at .25 and should be 25.00!

    This is what our eforts should be spent on. New tech!

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 5:11 PM, weiwentg wrote:

    I hope the Foolish community isn't against containing carbon emissions - that would be foolish in the extreme.

    The Waxman bill is flawed in that it gives most of the permits away. It will indeed contain carbon emissions to the levels specified in the bill. However, giving the permits away will essentially give the power companies a windfall. Regulated utilities might reduce prices for consumers - but the whole point of cap & trade is to produce a price signal to people who are using electricity!

    Ideally, 100% of the permits should have been auctioned and the proceeds distributed to the public - with the largest subsidies going to the poor. That way, anyone who reduces their electricity use gets a windfall. Utilities should hopefully move to decoupling - that means their payments are de-linked from how much electricity they generate, giving them the incentive to help consumers save power.

    I think this is the least bad bill we're going to get, given the entrenched interests in Washington. I'd support it. However, the President's initial inclination (which was, I believe, a 100% auction) was right.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 5:36 PM, treesareme wrote:

    This Waxman Bill would apparently have too great of an effect on America's energy industry to be passed without a great deal more debate and information dispersal. I fear for the "unknown" this legislation might create.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 5:38 PM, AntonioSosa wrote:

    Through lies, manipulation, intimidation and bribes, Obamas jobs killing, economy killing bill passed!

    Obama’s Cap and trade is another giant step towards Marxism — and the corruption, poverty, enslavement, destruction and despair that Marxism entails.

    Obama is working much faster than Hugo Chavez at destroying the economy and imposing Marxism. No wonder the Russians are gloating:

    From Pravda: “…the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people…”

    We are NOT hapless sheeple! We must do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves and our children from the Marxist dictatorship that’s being set up in Washington.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 5:51 PM, plange01 wrote:

    15 months of recession and now over 6 more in a depression is hurting america and its slowly getting worse.............

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 6:50 PM, rett448 wrote:

    Anyone that still fears the expansion of nuclear energy for fear of a Chernobyl like melt down is ignoring the huge technological advances of the modern reactor designs. The Westinghouse AP-1000 is perfect example of how far reactor safety has come over the last 30 years. The AP1000’s safety features are all passive and require no user intervention. This lowers the risk of human operator error which played a significant role in the accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. As for the fear of nuclear waste, France has been reprocessing spent nuclear material for years. Nuclear power is a cheap way to generate substantial amounts of carbon neutral energy without having to rely on the wind always blowing or the sun always shinning.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 7:08 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    Hear Obama's plan for your electric bills in his own words:

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 7:13 PM, KPM1642 wrote:

    Right now America is running neck and neck with A lot of the world. We now depend upon them fro our daily needs.

    Those needs are generally hte same as ours with the exception of power. We use a lot.

    Neck and neck is not where a leader runs they run ahead of the pack. If we are to run ahead of the pack we have to be on the leading edge not the comfortable edge.

    Will I pick world leadership over comfort? YES!

    I want America to be the leader we develop great stuff but we sit on it because it is uncomfortable(expensive, whatever) to use.Then somebody else uses cheap labor to make it work and America loses out.

    Well if we are the only ones on the leading edge then likely we will be the ones producing the leading edge product. Then the rest of the world wants it and we are back to financial solvency and we take control of our destiny.

    Why let other countries determine our fate. It should be ours to determine.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 10:02 PM, NoMoeMoney wrote:

    Hahahaaa, Once this massive tax hits, especially if people are still hurting from the bad economy: Watch Out! Do people honestly believe this counrty will survive Obamas socialist experiment? Too many weapons out there in the hands of unemployed,poor,mad and very patriotic people. Revolution is what this country was founded upon.Oh how the bears will the woods and in the markets.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 10:28 PM, mxy2 wrote:

    The premise behind cap and trade is that we will increase the cost to use energy through higher taxes - in an effort to force people to use less energy or pay more for their use of energy. Unfortunately, there will be a tremendous cost to have the existing energy industry to comply and thus, they will have to buy carbon credits and pass increased costs to the consumer. This tax is the very tax that Obama said he would not raise on 95% of the US population. This is a way for our government to gain more power and to interject into our lives. The joke is that they are selling this as an environmental bill - whereas the whole thing is about taxing the crap out of you based on global warming scare tactics.

    This is what happens when a far left administration takes over. They want to get ever controversial thing done so fast that before the public realizes it, it will have been done and very hard to unwind (e.g., healthcare). They will pass healthcare reform and then amnesty for illegal immigrants (who will then be eligible for the free healthcare), Then along with buying off the unions (e.g., auto bailouts), they will likely be successful to have created additional Democratic voters and stack the deck in future elections. I don't care if you think I'm crazy - you look at what has happened in the last five months and it should worry you.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 10:40 PM, AbeMishima wrote:

    Most of the posts appear to be from crybabies. Europe slaps taxes on gasoline and diesel that make them up to two times more expensive than here. They know that unless the price of fuel rises, the population will go on driving overweight SUVs and gas-guzzling luxury cars. The time to bite the bullet is now. Our children will thank us for wind, solar, and geothermal power.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2009, at 12:59 AM, oldetoad wrote:

    Our gov. has a long history of boondogles, incredible

    wasting of tax dollars, and worse. We were a rich country and absorbed these losses, and kept voting the same incumbents back into office. Now we are hardly doing more than posting comments while our gov. spend us into oblivion. Those that voted for "change"are certainly getting it, and will pay for it.

    This bill is about the environment, not energy independence. 80% of the population will be so broke in a few years, they won't be able to afford cars, so maybe this is a great energy conservation bill too!

    Congrats to MF staff writers and commenters for noting the glaring flaws in this bill.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2009, at 1:36 AM, roamabit wrote:

    Follow the money and see what politicians, others "connected," or ex-politicians become several times richer after cap ad Trade becomes law.

    This bill is not about the environment; it is a huge, intrusive power grab by government that will ultimately lower our standards of living and level of prosperity as a nation.

    We're getting the change, now let's see if any of it amounts to improvement.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2009, at 9:04 AM, opec0 wrote:


  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2009, at 2:44 PM, countryguy05 wrote:

    This bill will be a major player in the downfall of America. Some of you may be thinking this is doomsday nonsense but look at the facts. Here is a bill that was introduced Thursday, then at 4 a.m. Friday morning another 250+ pages were added to it. Then when representatives asked for a copy so they could read it, they were told they didn't have one on the floor! Why is it that all these massive 1500+ page bills are introduced then SHOVED through? Because the backers of the bill don't want the information out before it's voted on. That would actually give America time to complain about it like they should! Also consider the fact that Cap and Trade has been tried in various countries around the world already, and in every case they have been major disasters. Many of the countries are repealing them as fast as they can just to try and save their own economies. In Spain the most recent report is that on average there are 2-3 job losses for every 1 green job created, Once again under Cap and Trade in Spain just for the creation of 1 Green job at LEAST 2 regular jobs are lost because of it. This is coming to America, because the American Cap and Trade is based directly on the European ones. The President said it himself that with this bill Utilities cost will exponentially increase. Numerous Governors have stated that if this were put in place in individual states that the states economy would be devastated by the effects, so whats the difference when you put it on an entire nation? Nothing! This bill includes specifics about size and use of vehicles, the types of light bulbs on can use, even down to future regulations on the type of food you can grow, and buy! You want a hamburger? Oh to bad you'll have to pay $20 plus for a pound of beef because they are bad for the environment. All in the name of planet earth. But please also look at the facts that when the original fuss was made about global warming there were around 350 world scientists making the claim with there "Evidence" in the past year over 700 world scientists have come out with evidence that global warming is not real, it is all a hoax. In the past 5-6 years the earths tempature have flat lined, basically not increased or decreased, which is interesting considering that CO2 emissions raised each year! Before you buy into global warming please do research on the various topics of natural climate shifts, polar shifts, and weather cycles. Also look into that fact that Al Gore is the worlds first multi-millionaire off of global warming, and yes while he does donate his salary to the cause of global warming, he has various investments with carbon credits and various other "worthless" investments, that was worthless before the cap and trade passed, with this bill he is set to be the worlds first BILLIONAIRE off of Global Warming! Various government officials and companies will be massively lining there pockets from the profits that this bill has given them! If nothing else look at history, the U.S. raised minimum wage increases because of the whining Unions, as soon as it was passed you had a huge movement of American jobs to foreign countries because of it. The majority of the companies that made the move even spoke out that it was because of the forced wage increase. Now you have a bill that bascially discourages companies from producing products in the U.S. that are not good for the environment. So what will these companies do, spend millions on revamping product lines, or actually SAVE money by moving operations overseas? I Urge you Please call and talk to all your representatives about all these massive, overnight, rushed bills and the enormous negative effect they have on the future of this country!

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2009, at 4:25 PM, funkywizard wrote:

    This is a problem we needed to start dealing with 30 years ago. Anyone who's read "limits to growth" knows that we can't continue down the same path much longer.

    That said, cap and trade could have come at a better time. Will cap and trade hurt our economy? Yes. Will it cost us more money and jobs? Yes. Is it absolutely essential moving forward? Yes.

    The simple fact is, that there just isn't enough oil and other resources to support the boundless growth that we've become accustomed to. Further, it's painfully clear that without the proper incentives, renewable technologies that are absolutely essential to our society over the next 50 years are not going to happen by themselves in sufficient quantity to avert disaster.

    Reducing carbon emissions is a nice goal, but the real benefit here is building non-depleting sources of energy before it's too late. Everything costs twice as much in the UK, and nobody complains about it, they adjust to the reality, become more efficient, invest in things that don't break after 6 months, and move on with their lives. This is definitely going to hurt our economy for some time, but it is absolutely essential to our viability moving forward, economically and environmentally.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2009, at 12:52 AM, goalie37 wrote:

    I have a question about the proposed system - are hedge funds going to be permitted to buy and sell these carbon credits?

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2009, at 11:37 AM, dermp1 wrote:

    I oppose this legislation, not because of carbon emissions or global warming or other scientific inquiries. No this is bad science added to bad economics. China and other 3rd world countries do not and will not reduce or be forced to reduce their emissions. China is putting 200 coal fired electric plants on the power grid per year. Why coal? It is relatively cheap. Cheap energy equates to reduced costs for manufacturing and thus more manufacturing jobs. Our country has lost manufacturing jobs over the past decades as we move more of these jobs overseas- translation- Americans become unemployeed as we try to clean the environment. To my understanding, China's coal fired plants do not require scrubbers or other mechanisms to make coal burning cleaner and with the atmosphere not respecting geographic boundaries, their dirty air will continue to mix with the air from other countries. Think of volcanic eruptions, the debris may be greatest locally but ultimately the suet carries across the globe.

    Climate change, global warming, global cooling, and other cliche's are man's attempts to understand and discuss THEORY. A single volcanic eruption can put as much dirt into the atmosphere as all the cars on the roads. I am not a proponent of overt pollution but sometimes you throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Why not some of the later generation nuclear plants? Windmills could potentially be placed in migratory routes for birds so the environmentalists will be up in arms about saving the bird populations. solar mirrors are placed in sunny deserts and the harm to the desert environment is real.

    Now we have another bill in which there is a partisan push to get action. Has anyone even read the full thing. I doubt it.

    We are sacrificing the future of America on voodoo science ( I am a scientist and science espouses a theory that some times gets changed or modified over time until- remember in the 1970's it was global cooling) I am disappointed that more people in the scientific community with opposing views are not allowed air time to voice their concerns. They are no more wacko than the global warming climate change ideologues.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2009, at 1:19 PM, garrick1 wrote:

    AntonioSosa, as part of your argument you post an article from a publication (Pravda) whose headlines are {paraphrased}

    1. "There is another human population liiving in the hollows of the earth."

    2."There are invisible, poisonous skyfish flying all around us at 300km/hr" and

    3."Deep space creatures populate the earth".

    Are you serious?

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2009, at 6:44 PM, clearbranch wrote:

    Just we get got a knock-down punch from the current depression, we are now getting the knock-out punch that will triple our electric bills and put farmers out of business by charging us a carbon tax on livestock "gas emissions."

    I'll have to buy a permit for each animal I have. The government will finally get the RFID identification system it have coveted for so long to keep track of the animal "emissions" we are being taxed on

    Price of beef and dairy products just went through the roof and the farmers will go out of business because the consumers just simply won't have the money to buy it.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2009, at 6:10 AM, brwn8484 wrote:

    Cap & Tax = Third World Economy.

    Obamunism 101

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2009, at 8:45 AM, ValuBux wrote:

    Obama is wrecking this country, and this bill is his prize pig. It should scare us all that his mere ascent to the presidency, for some reason means that all legislation must be done without any debate or argument. How dare anyone question his authority? Why is it everything needs to be done immediately, you would think as important as this and other bills are you would want to take your time and do it right. He knows he is outed as a commie, and will now put everything through he can before 2010, because he knows his liberal pals in congress are going to get a serious spanking at the polls. What is more scary is that we have state run media, who refuses to act as our watchdog, instead they act as Obama's lap dog. Why are they not upset with the numerous broken campaign promises? Next on that list, the famous middle class tax cut, soon to become a middle class tax hike. They will not call him to the carpet no matter what lies he tells.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2009, at 12:04 PM, cjb44 wrote:

    At a time when manufacturing jobs are on the decline, why would the House pass a bill that is going to make it more expensive to manfacture anything in the Country.

    Regardless of your views on Global Warming, this is a going to encourage companies to increase their overseas productions...and those that stay will end up costing us more as a final product.

    Just look how CAFE standards have affected Detriot and the auto industry.

    Guess it's time to start saving my money for the increased energy bills we are going to see real soon. And I thought Obama promised no tax increases on anyone making under $250,000...this is an increase on everyone.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2009, at 12:55 PM, TexasChris wrote:

    The answer is NO! It will not hurt the economy. My problem is the bill not strong enough! It (or definitely a stronger bill) will spur ingenuity and provide focus on the clean energy industries that are ready to blow the economy wide open. The industry is ready to go. It is not like the tech does not exist. It does! It's not like the manufacturing is not in place. It is! The only people against this are the small minded and the Bears. They like their oil and coal profits, not to be messed with.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2009, at 2:52 PM, XMFSinchiruna wrote:


    [I have a question about the proposed system - are hedge funds going to be permitted to buy and sell these carbon credits?]

    Excellent question!

    Yes ... they are essentially creating a new market for over-the-counter derivatives based upon a market for emissions allotment futures. Those derivatives will be available or trade by any of the big money houses or hedgies out there.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2009, at 3:49 PM, zoningfool wrote:

    What Buffet said about cap-and-trade is tame compared to what Charles Munger said in a CNBC interview last month. To quote:

    "I think it would be monstrously stupid to do it right now.

    It would be a huge shock to the economy and it wouldn't accomplish very much given the fact that the vast majority of the CO2 is coming from a place like China.

    And so I think it would be almost demented if we rushed into cap-and-trade right now, in the middle of this economic crisis."

    "Monstrously Stupid" and "Almost Demented"

    Sums it up quite well...

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2009, at 6:21 PM, mapboys wrote:

    The argument for "Cap and Trade" is that with it carbon will be priced high enough that alternative energies will be economic when compared to oil, coal and natural gas. This means to me that the policy folks don't really know how high the price of carbon needs to be for alternatives to be price competitive.

    In the interim between implementation of CapAndTrade and the future I wonder where we will get electricity?

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2009, at 10:11 PM, SnapDave wrote:

    The fact that we get half our power from coal is a direct, unintended consequence of this kind of green pipe dream. The irrational fear of nuclear power left us with coal as an economically viable solution. What most people don't know is that besides the more ordinary pollutants and sulfer, coal also emits enormous amounts of radioactive material and other exotic poisons. Question what your being told even by people with PhD's. Many have a bias they won't even admit to themselves. Make no mistake, the same thinking that forced acid rain and radioactive pollution on us is the same that brought this bill.

    Wind and some solar are positive steps but will only get us so far. We absolutely need nuclear power. Obama is clearly against nuclear but he's been forced, at times, to say he'd think about it. It's critical that he be forced to think a little harder.

    Will we loose even more manufacturing jobs to countries that don't care much about pollution while we spend ourselves into a hole trying to reduce ours by a few percent? You bet we will. But I'm convinced that even without Cap and Tax, this country is too stupid to continue as an economic superpower.

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2009, at 1:54 AM, jezwallusa wrote:

    Business needs to follow politics. The reality is that the train has left the station. Sell Electric utilities that burn coal and buy solar and wind. Remember the US energy needs are solved by 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels wiuth a cost of about $40bn. Not much for people with vision. The vested and lobby interests will take down a few arguments and people's careers but the train has left and investors need to adjust and get on board.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 3:48 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    you know what I say. I say pass it. When electricity bills go up through the roof we'll find get some votes swinging in for nuclear power generation. Long term energy needs solved.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 4:01 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    dermp1, don't you get it, we can't move past the green activist and move to nuclear power tell we get people to see how much green really costs. Nuclear and solar are the only two really viable power generation methods for our country's long term viability. Coil in the future, 50+ years, will be turned into gas//diesel, along with generation of biodiesels to support the conitnuation of our economy. The only really indefinite long term solutions are solar and birth control.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 2:58 PM, mpendragon wrote:

    The main reason cap-and-trade will hurt because it's difficult to assess a pollution levy on imports especially with free trade pacts.

    American workers shouldn't be forced to compete with adults and children who work for slave wages, in dangerous conditions, while pumping toxic filth into the environment with few restrictions. The answer to this problem is not a race to the bottom but a level playing field.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 3:01 PM, TexasLonghorns wrote:

    Stop for a moment and think.....why not a bridge to clean energy...nuclear, natural gas, cannot change our energy policy over night without a bridge to one that is cleaner, domestically produced and cheap.

    If they think they can do this with this POS out haven't seen unemployment yet!

    Everyone was warned..."how's that "Hope" and "Change" working for ya?" Bread lines anyone?

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 6:19 PM, RFBurns wrote:

    Why do you think these folks use the Jackass as their symbol? You've got the treehuggers, the environuts, the Gore believers, and every other wacko making poor decisions. Guess what? These folks think that this ridiculous set of rules will 'save the planet'. Newsflash: Ain't gonna work! Don't worry about the pollution saved by America sucking up to the European community. Newsflash #2: Their manufacturing is about where the US will be after the rules shut down American business. So, the folks who actually will be building things, the Chinese and Indians, have already said BS to this whole deal. Therefore, the Jackasses will have earned their donkey tails.

    HONK: if you want higher taxes, no real jobs, and more Federal spending!

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 6:46 PM, QwertyHero wrote:

    Is the Pope Catholic?

  • Report this Comment On July 03, 2009, at 12:04 PM, Lostcountry wrote:

    Wake UP!! The earth has been cooling for the last few years. This is nothing but a monster TAX and power grab by the government. If you Fools are for this I want my money back.

  • Report this Comment On July 03, 2009, at 6:37 PM, tex41 wrote:

    RFBURNS, "Guess what? These folks think that this ridiculous set of rules will 'save the planet'."

    If, as i believe, O is a marxist, and by definition his policy of spread the wealth, big government, government ownership of business and resources and so on support catagorizing him thusly.

    O does not give one whit about saving the planet.

    He is interested in saving power for o and his minions. He is in agreement if not in active persuit of amending the 20th amendment to allow his continued role as savior past the current legal 8 years! Every action he takes re cap and trade is to lock in votes for his power base.

    O is driven to help you care for yourself. You are a victim and need his enlightened help to survive.

    Remember this; when in the future, should cap and tax become law, you belatedly realize with shock that the huge price increases you are seeing from energy taxes are destroying your life. Gore will be a billionaire in the making and o will be dictator in fact if not yet in name, of your life.

    For those of you exempt from federal taxes, and yes that includes some fools with money to invest, welcome to finally paying your share via the energy tax. And thankyou for sharing the wealth with o and Gore. I'm thinking Gore must finally have a reason to pray, he has to ask for his blessings to continue with thanks for the flow of wealth coming his way.

  • Report this Comment On July 03, 2009, at 11:35 PM, efmagowan wrote:

    I haven't read the bill. Neither has anyone in congress who voted on it. This situation is as hosed up as the 'Patriot Act' vote was but 'Cap and Trade' will cost more. How many manufacturers will remain in the U.S.? I wouldn't. I say we take all the congressfools who voted for it, stack them like firewood and burn them for fuel. Solar electric power is still not economical for grid use; it's fine as a point of use supplement. Solar water heating is a no brainer. Make or buy a collector and use it during the warmer months (yes, my money's where my mouth is). Nuclear power is a large part of the solution, we just shouldn't build only huge multi-gigawatt reactors. We're very good at building smaller ones - think submarines. And yes, you may put on in my back yard. Better yet, build thorium fueled reactors. To the Fool writer who mentioned Chernobyl - do your homework. The U.S. does NOT build graphite moderated reactors. Waste isn't a problem with thorium. It's also not a problem dumped into deep ocean trenches. Or Yucca mountain. Bottom line - it was irresponsible of the House to vote on this the way they did; they spent more time discussing whether the FDA should regulate tobacco. Who cares, voters have short memories and in any case are easily distracted with red herrings.

  • Report this Comment On July 04, 2009, at 7:35 AM, RFBurns wrote:

    There are seats in the House to be lost in 2010, do your part to recapture some sanity.

    HONK: if you want higher taxes, no real jobs, and more Federal spending!

  • Report this Comment On July 04, 2009, at 11:57 AM, sdcougar wrote:

    What is MISSING from all ;your EXPERTS is this:

    CO2 does NOT drive global warming. It is NOT a pollutant! Get educated, watch this video which includes scientists from the IPCC.

    Are you people this ill-read??? There have been three international conferences on climate change with climate scientists from MIT, Harvard, etc, ...the President of the EU (now past pres.) who has a Ph.D in economics....etc , all speaking against the notion that CO2 drives climate change.

    This is a tax with NO environmental gains, only economic losses.

    Scientists from the IPCC have been speaking up. WHY don't FOOLS speak up???

    "UN IPCC advice is destroying economies around the world for no reason and neither emission reductions nor carbon trading will have any effect whatsoever on the naturally occurring carbon dioxide cycle. The greenhouse hypothesis – what most climatologists call "the basic science" – offers a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. What passes for climate science today is mostly science fiction."

    “CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” - Dr. Takeda Kunihi

    Our ignorance about the climate system is enormous, and policy makers need to know that. This is an extremely complex system, and thinking we can control it is hubris. [THIS is the most important fact of the whole issue.] --Dr. John Christy, a lead author for the IPCC report

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2009, at 9:46 AM, RFBurns wrote:

    sdcougar...READ these comments a little closer, I think most of us "experts" are on the same side as you. Global warming is like the 11 year solar cycle, we aren't going to do diddley squat to change it. The problem of course is the American sheep that believe fools like Gore, O, and his minions. It's 'mo money and power' to that group.

    TexasChris your real problem is gullibility. This package is garbage.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2009, at 2:51 AM, oldetoad wrote:

    In varying degrees of political correctness ~9/10 of us oppose this bill,yet or elected leaders pass it in a hurry. Reminds me of Henry Palson's first TARP proposal where 90% of the emails to the House came in against it and the House voted it down. Then the next week they passed it amid an outpouring of commercial interests response.

    Recently an article in Rolling Stone entitled The Great Bubble Machine indicates none other than Goldman Sachs intends to profit big on the trading of these credits. It also mentioned GS gave B.O. over $900K campaign donation. Hmmm- the fox is clearly in our hen house.

  • Report this Comment On August 05, 2009, at 10:57 AM, notillfarmer wrote:

    Carbon dioxide is plant food and is absolutely necessary for life on earth. It is a trace gas, according to Google, less concentration in our atmosphere than Argon gas! To spend money on limiting a gas that has no impact on climate is foolish. The earth is warming. The edge of the ice sheet was on my farm ten thousand years ago and has now melted back to Greenland. I think that is good.

  • Report this Comment On August 06, 2009, at 12:31 AM, thedatadude wrote:

    It is truly amazing to me that anyone with anything more than a 5th grade education can still be led to believe that global warming is some sort of pseudo-science, or that the scientific community is somehow "split" on this issue. These people have no idea how to interpret the science, and are probably the same folks who now refuse to have their kids vaccinated (a monumental tragedy). Read the scientific journals folks, not the tabloids. I know they're hard to read, but at least try.

    The science is sound, and there is no split or indecisiveness. You can always find a some stray attention-seeker who will tell you otherwise, but another trillion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere over the next 50 years will have devastating effects. That's TRILLION...with a "T"...

    I do take great comfort in the fact that the opinion of those who disagree with me has finally been rendered irrelevant, as they are all now a member of a shrinking minority whose voice is becoming more feeble by the day. I used to feel inclined to engage them, but I don't even bother with those people anymore, we have won the debate and it is time for action.

    I doubt that the present bill will solve the problem it sets out to, and many refinements will be needed as we go. What I am certain of is that the next bill will be far better, because EXPERIENCE is a great teacher, and experience has to be earned...and PAID for. There is no free education, so we want to learn, we gotta pay the tuition. Will this whole process make billionaires? Geez I certainly hope so, I haven't run across too many billionaires that are pretty smart, and we need all the brainpower we can muster. Will some of those billionaires be undeserving scoundrels? You betcha...but many will be the best in their field...leaders and entrepreneurs whose daring, insight, and creativity hold the key to our success.

    Of far greater importance is that fact that we have begun. We have embarked on an endeavor that is far more important than any other that we have attempted. We will fail countless times along the way, and those failures will make us tougher, smarter, and better equipped to continue the effort. All eyes are upon us, so let us lead the way as only this country can.

  • Report this Comment On August 06, 2009, at 1:31 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    Wow, thedatadude, nobody can refute that. The science is settled, no more room for debate. I guess you were a kid that cried over the plight of the drowning polar bears- we understand your pain.

    I'll make this as simple as possible. The current level of carbon dioxide is about 380 ppm (parts per million, so .00038 parts per a total of 1). The planet has been both warmer than it is now, and cooler, and co2 levels higher and lower and there were no human sources of the gas. The big mistake people like you make is the assumption that the ecosystem is in some sort of fragile equilibrium. It has always been a dynamic system.

    THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART- it doesn't matter what you think about the causes of 'global warming', co2 will increase in the next few decades. If it happens, we will have to deal with it, if it doesn't, we will think 'wow, that was stupid'.

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